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EgyptAir Black Box Indicates Attempt To Put Out Fire Before Deadly Crash

EgyptAir Flight MS804 was carrying 66 people from Paris to Cairo when it vanished May 19 over the Mediterranean.

Last updated on July 5, 2016, at 11:50 a.m. ET

Posted on May 19, 2016, at 6:17 a.m. ET

An EgyptAir Airbus A320.
Thomas Ranner / AP file

An EgyptAir Airbus A320.

What We Know So Far:

  • EgyptAir Flight MS804 went missing May 19 at 2:30 a.m. Egyptian time (8:30 p.m. Wednesday ET) on its way to Cairo from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.
  • The plane was carrying 66 people. Fifty-six of those were passengers — including two infants and one child — and the other 10 were crew members.
  • The airline released an initial passenger manifest by nationality, which included 30 Egyptians, 15 French people, 1 Briton, and 1 Canadian.
  • The Airbus A320 lost contact with radar about 280 kilometers (174 miles) from the Egyptian coast.
  • Greece's defense minister said the plane made two sharp turns and plummeted 20,000 feet before disappearing from radar.
  • Flight data shows smoke and fire were detected inside the cabin before the crash.
Maps4News / HERE / AP

Updates

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Reports: Flight voice recorder indicates attempt to put out fire

Egyptian Aviation Ministry / Reuters

Audio from the cockpit voice recorder of the EgyptAir flight which crashed in May indicates there was an attempt made to put out a fire onboard before the plane went down.

Crash investigators told Reuters a fire took hold in the plane before the jet crashed, according to the recordings.

Last week, officials announced that one of the plane's data recorders had detected smoke and heat in the plane.

Investigators have not yet announced what caused the plane to crash, killing all on board.

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EgyptAir wreckage shows smoke and heat damage to plane

A flight recorder retrieved from the crashed EgyptAir Fight MS804.
Reuters

A flight recorder retrieved from the crashed EgyptAir Fight MS804.

Data recovered from a black box aboard the EgyptAir flight that crashed on May 19 confirms earlier reports that there was smoke on board the jet before it crashed, investigators announced Wednesday.

A flight data recorder, also known as a black box, showed that was smoke detected in a lavatory and avionics area beneath the cockpit before the plane went down in the Mediterranean Sea. Recovered plane wreckage also showed "signs of damage because of high temperature," the Associated Press reported.

The smoke was recorded just minutes before the plane vanished from radar. A second damaged black box, the cockpit recorder, was also recovered from the wreckage and is being repaired in Paris.

The plane disappeared while en route from Paris to Cairo. Searchers later found debris in the Mediterranean. Investigators have not said what caused the crash.

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EgyptAir cockpit voice recorder recovered

AP

The cockpit voice recorder of the doomed EgyptAir jet that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea has been recovered, officials announced.

Egypt's investigation committee announced that the so-called "black box" was damaged, but that search crews were able to pull the memory unit, "which is the most important in the recorder."

The cockpit recordings are a significant development into the investigation into the cause of the crash, which remains unclear.

EgyptAir Flight MS804 crashed May 19 between the Greek island of Crete and the Egyptian coast while en route from Paris to Cairo, killing all 66 people on board.

On Friday, The AP reported that a 2nd flight data recorder had been recovered.

BREAKING: Egyptian investigation team says 2nd flight data recorder of the doomed plane spotted and recovered from the Mediterranean.

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"Main locations" of EgyptAir wreckage located

A video image from May released by the Egyptian Defense Ministry.
Uncredited / AP

A video image from May released by the Egyptian Defense Ministry.

Egypt officials announced Wednesday that "several main locations" of wreckage had been spotted from the EgyptAir jet that crashed into the Mediterranean in May, killing all 66 people on board.

A vessel hired by the Egyptian government to help search for the A320's flight data recorders made the discovery, the state investigative committee said in a statement. Plans were also being drafted for how best to retrieve the debris.

Debris retrieved earlier from the search remains under the supervision of state prosecutors for forensic analysis, officials added.

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Black box signals heard by French search teams

A U.S. Navy ship searching for the plane last month.
Salvatore Cavalli / AP

A U.S. Navy ship searching for the plane last month.

A French navy ship searching for the wreckage of the downed EgyptAir jet has detected signals presumed to be from the plane's black boxes, officials said Wednesday.

In a statement, France's Bureau of Investigations and Analysis said the French ship La Place "has received, through its search equipment, signals from the seabed of the wreckage search area that are presumed to be from one of the data recorders."

"Extensive search efforts are being carried out to locate the two data recorders," the bureau said, ahead of their retrieval by a deep ocean search vessel.

Egyptian officials also earlier confirmed the news.

Sixty-six people were on board when the Airbus A320 crashed on May 19 while flying from Paris to Cairo.

The plane vanished from radar screens without sending a distress call, however no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the disaster.

—David Mack

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Emergency signals detected from missing EgyptAir flight, state media reports

Salvatore Cavalli / AP

Search teams looking for missing EgyptAir Flight MS804 have detected an emergency signal coming from the Mediterranean Sea, where the plane and its 66 passengers are believed to have crashed last week, Egyptian state media reported Thursday.

The signals are likely coming from the jet's emergency locator transmitter, which can activate on impact and send a distress signal, state-run Al Ahram reported.

The signal will also narrow the search area for the plane. Multiple government agencies have been combing the sea where the Cairo-bound plane disappeared on May 19.

The signals could also help search teams locate the cockpit voice recorder and flight data to help determine what brought down the Airbus A320 airliner.

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Investigation continues, amid reports of blast onboard.

There is no new development in the ongoing investigation into the downing of the EgyptAir flight, the Egyptian Justice Ministry told BuzzFeed News on Tuesday, despite reports claiming forensic workers believe there was a blast on board the doomed jet.

A number of outlets reported Tuesday, citing an anonymous forensic official, that the small size of human remains retrieved from the wreckage indicated there had been an explosion.

However, Khaled Al Nashar, the official spokesperson for the Justice Ministry, told BuzzFeed News investigators have not completed collecting forensic evidence and there were no new developments to report.

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Egypt sends submarine to site of crash to help in search for wreckage.

Egypt's president has said a submarine belonging to his country's Oil Ministry has been sent to the site of the crashed EgyptAir Flight MS804 in the eastern Mediterranean.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said the submarine has the capacity to operate at a depth of 3,000 meters (9,842 feet) below the surface.

He said the submarine left Sunday to join the search for the cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

Sissi said it "will take time" to determine the exact cause of the crash, the Associated Press reported.

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The first audio clip from the EgyptAir flight has been released.

View this video on YouTube

CNN / Via youtube.com

An audio transmission between an EgyptAir pilot and an air traffic control agent based in Zurich, Switzerland, has been released, according to CNN. It was not the last audio file from the cockpit.

The communication appears to sound like standard correspondence between a pilot and air traffic control.

"Hello, hello, EgyptAir 804, flight level 370, squawk number 7624," the pilot can be heard saying.

The traffic control agent confirmed the alert: "EgyptAir 804 radar contact."

"Thank you so much," the pilot responded.

The two exchanged more contact information. The control agent wished the pilot a good night, and the pilot thanked him.

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Egyptian Armed Forces shares images of debris from EgyptAir flight found in ocean.

Egyptian Armed Forces / AP
Egyptian Armed Forces / AP

Images of debris from the EgyptAir flight have been posted online by the official spokesperson of the Egyptian Armed Forces and the country's ministry of defense.

Photos posted to Facebook show part of a plane chair, wreckage from the body of the plane, and a lifejacket.

Search crews found floating human remains, luggage and seats from the doomed EgyptAir jetliner Friday, the Associated Press reported.

Video posted to YouTube by the Egyptian Ministry of Defense showed the same items laid out on the deck of a Navy vessel. Among the items that can be seen are a shoe and a tattered handbag.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

On Saturday, French air accident investigation agency spokesperson Sebastien Barthe confirmed to AP that the plane's automatic detection system sent messages indicating smoke a few minutes before the plane disappeared from radar.

The messages "generally means the start of a fire," he said. "[But] we are drawing no conclusions from this. Everything else is pure conjecture."

Egyptian Armed Forces / AP
Egyptian Armed Forces / AP
Egyptian Armed Forces / AP
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Flight data shows smoke detected inside EgyptAir cabin before crash.

An aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) unit.
Via Flickr: flyforfun

An aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) unit.

In the final moments before EgyptAir Flight MS804 plunged into the Mediterranean Sea, equipment aboard the Airbus A320 detected smoke in the nose of the aircraft.

The messages, which reported smoke in a lavatory and avionics compartment located in the nose of the plane, were transmitted via an automated data link that delivers communications from aircraft to the ground.

According to The Aviation Herald, the plane's Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) first reported the smoke at 2:26 a.m. local time — just minutes before the flight controls failed and the plane vanished from radar.

The data, which was obtained from three independent sources, may hold crucial clues to what happened aboard the flight before it crashed into the sea, killing all 66 people aboard.

The company that operates the ACARS service, Rockwell Collins, confirmed to BuzzFeed News it delivered messages from Flight MS804 to EgyptAir before the plane disappeared.

The following ACARS messages were received from the plane:

00:26Z 3044 ANTI ICE R WINDOW 00:26Z 561200 R SLIDING WINDOW SENSOR 00:26Z 2600 SMOKE LAVATORY SMOKE 00:27Z 2600 AVIONICS SMOKE 00:28Z 561100 R FIXED WINDOW SENSOR 00:29Z 2200 AUTO FLT FCU 2 FAULT 00:29Z 2700 F/CTL SEC 3 FAULT

Egyptian officials have said no distress call was made by the pilots prior to the crash.

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Donald Trump said plane was "blown out of the sky."

The presumptive Republican nominee for president was speaking at a fundraiser in New Jersey Thursday night when he weighed in on the EgyptAir tragedy, saying the plane was "blown out of the sky."

"What just happened about 12 hours ago? A plane got blown out of the sky. And if anybody thinks it wasn't blown out of the sky, you're 100 percent wrong," Trump said, according to the AP.

Earlier the same day, Trump tweeted his reaction to the plane going down, saying that it "looks like" a terror attack.

Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!

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Yassir Abdel Ghaffar, the uncle of the co-pilot, Mohamed Mamdouh Assem, told CNN that his nephew was a "very kind person."

"He was a very kind person, in his humanity and sense of humor," Ghaffar said. "What happened is really very much unfortunate. It is not only us as a family… the entire country is really sad about it."

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European security officials have said there were no known terror suspects onboard the flight.

Three European security officials confirmed none of the passengers were listed on any current terror watch lists, AP reported.

The Latest: European security officials say no known terror suspects on EgyptAir plane. https://t.co/DekzeRwBQn

The Egyptian army also released footage of the search for the missing plane.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Although the army confirmed Friday morning wreckage had been discovered, a spokesperson said efforts to find the plane's black box continued.

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Greece's defense minister has said a body part and more debris from the missing EgyptAir plane have been found.

Defence Minister Kammenos announcing that body parts found in eastern Med #Greece #EgyptAir #MS804

Speaking at a news conference Friday morning, Panos Kammenos confirmed that two seats and a suitcase were among items spotted in the Mediterranean, according to AP.

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An Egyptian army spokesperson has confirmed that debris from the plane has been found.

The spokesperson, in a statement published on the army's official Facebook page, said a number of "personal effects" had been found roughly 180 miles off the Egyptian coast.

Search and rescue operations will continue, the statement said, as the army presses on searching for the black box in the surrounding area.

It follows conflicting information released overnight, which initially appeared to suggest debris had been discovered off the coast of the Greek island of Karpathos – but Greek officials later concluded the debris found did not belong to an aircraft, forcing EgyptAir to retract last night's confirmation.

Shortly after the army's statement, EgyptAir also confirmed Friday morning debris had been found.

In a statement, the airline said "passenger belongings" and "wreckage" had been discovered 295 k.m. off the coast, near Alexandria.

عثرت القوات المسلحة المصرية في الساعات الأولي من صباح اليوم علي بعد 295 كيلو من سواحل الأسكندرية علي بقايا حطام ومتعلقات الرحلة ٨٠٤

In subsequent tweets released this morning, EgyptAir expressed their condolences to the families of passengers of Flight MS804. They added that they will release more information when they have it.

David Degner / Getty Images
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White House says cause of plane's disappearance is not yet known.

In a statement Thursday evening, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest expressed condolences to the families of those onboard the doomed flight and stated it was not yet known what caused the plane's disappearance.

The United States offers our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew of EgyptAir Flight 804, as well as to the countries affected by this tragedy, first and foremost Egypt and France. At this time we do not yet know definitively what caused the disappearance of Flight 804. The United States stands ready to provide our full support and resources to the Governments of Egypt and France as they investigate this incident.
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Passenger "really lucky" he didn't board doomed EgyptAir flight.

Facebook: video.php

One man who was supposed to be on EgyptAir Flight MS804 said he feels "really lucky" that he failed to board the plane that disappeared somewhere over the Mediterranean Sea.

"Honestly, I'm really lucky," Mounir Namour told reporters at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. "I don't know. I was really lucky not to have left on this flight."

Namour told reporters his parents had asked him not to get on the Cairo-bound flight, but he didn't learn of the plane's disappearance until later on.

"I had a knot in my stomach, and I have had it ever since then," he told SUD Radio and the Associated Press. "Even my parents told me not to get onboard the plane, but there you go."

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FBI director said no indication the flight was intentionally downed.

Carlos Osorio / AP

FBI Director James Comey said Thursday there is no indication at the moment that the missing EgyptAir plane was downed intentionally.

"We don't know exactly what this is yet," Comey said during an event at the FBI's Chicago field office.

Multiple government agencies are searching the Mediterranean Sea for clues to what happened to EgyptAir Flight MS804. Egyptian authorities said sabotage was more likely to be the cause than a technical failure, but there was no indication yet as to why the plane and its 66 passengers disappeared.

Comey said no terror groups have claimed responsibility for the incident.

"Given that we don't see indication yet of cause so far, it's hard to say what the implications might be at this point," he said.

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EgyptAir

EgyptAir offers condolences to families of passengers and crew aboard missing flight.

EgyptAir
EgyptAir

EgyptAir said in a statement it is joining the families of Flight MS804's passengers and crew in mourning.

The airline added that it will take all steps necessary in its response to the missing plane. A "comprehensive" investigation is underway to determine what happened, the airline said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said he has directed aviation authorities, the military, and other state agencies to intensify search operations. An investigative committee is also working to determine the cause of the disappearance, he said.

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EgyptAir retracts claim plane wreckage has been found.

EgyptAir Vice Chairman Ahmed Adel said in a CNN interview that the airline had been mistaken about finding the wreckage of missing Flight MS804.

"We stand corrected on finding the wreckage," Adel said.

The airline had earlier said wreckage was found in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Greek authorities disputed that any debris from an aircraft had been found.

Military forces from multiple countries continued their search for the missing plane.

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Egyptian military releases video of the search for the missing flight.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com
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Greek official says debris recovered does not belong to an aircraft.

A Greek aviation official said that while debris had been found in the Mediterranean Sea near Karpathos Island, it was not confirmed to be related to missing Flight MS804.

An assessment showed the debris did not belong to an aircraft, Athanassios Binis, head of Greece's Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board, said on Greek state TV. EgyptAir had previously said they were informed by the Egyptian government that the debris is wreckage of the plane.

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EgyptAir confirms that the wreckage of Flight MS804 has been found.

Facebook: EGYPTAIR

يفيد العثور على مواد طافية يرجح انها لحطام الطائرة وكذلك علي بعض سترات النجاة ومواد بلاستيكية

In addition, the airline also said that life jackets and other items were found floating near the suspected crash site.

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This guy made a flowchart on how to react to a plane crash on social media.

I made a flowchart to help you decide whether to write that tweet about #MS804 (or other crises). You're welcome!

Economist and writer Mohamed El Dashan made a flowchart that show's people how to react to a plane crash on social media.

El Dahshan told BuzzFeed News that he was inspired to make it because of how much misinformation has been spreading social media during moments of crisis.

Read more about the El Dashan's flowchart here.

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CNN, citing an EgyptAir vice president, is reporting the wreckage has been found.

"We have found the wreckage," Vice President Ahmed Adel told the network. "There are so many reasons why a plane can fall from the sky and crash. We have no explanations at this stage. We need more investigation."

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EgyptAir says it cannot confirm reports that wreckage of the plane has been found.

EGYPTAIR has contacted the concerned authorities which did not confirm this information. /2

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The U.S. Navy has joined the search for EgyptAir plane.

#USNavy providing P-3 Orion, seen here in file photo, in support of search for #EgyptAir #MS804.

The U.S. Navy has joined the search for the EgyptAir plane at the request of the Greek government, according to the Navy Times.

A plane was dispatched from the Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, the Times reported. The Navy also assisted in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in 2014.

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Twitter users are sharing photos of debris that appear to have originated from this Arabic-speaking Facebook account belonging to a ship captain based out of Alexandria, Egypt. It is unclear if they are related to Flight MS804.

(H/T David Clinch/Storyful)
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Fake information surrounding the disappearance of the EgyptAir flight is being shared online.

This has included trolls claiming to be relatives of those onboard, as well as a number of tweets apparently showing debris found near the aircraft's last known location. A video of a "fireball" has also been widely shared.

Click here to see updates on the hoaxes.

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Procter and Gamble employee identified as Flight MS804 passenger.

Facebook

Ahmed Helal was identified by French politicians and his employer Procter and Gamble as one of the passengers aboard the plane.

In a statement on the city of Amiens website, the mayor and the city council expressed sadness about the death of Helal who they said was one of the 56 passengers on board the plane.

Check here for updates on the victims of Flight MS804.

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My thoughts are with the family and friends of all those missing following the disappearance of EgyptAir's Flight MS804. We are in close contact with Egyptian and French authorities and have offered the Egyptian authorities our support in their search and rescue efforts. We know that one British passport holder boarded the flight in Paris and our staff are providing support and assistance to the family at this difficult time. We will continue to help in any way we can.
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Egypt's aviation minister has said the "possibility" a terror attack was responsible for the plane's disappearance is "higher" than the possibility it was a mechanical fault.

Sharif Fathy, during an occasionally rowdy press conference, made the statement in response to a question. "If you analyse the situation properly the possibility of having a terror attack is higher than the possibility of having a technical [problem]," he said.

Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty Images
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Relatives of passengers react outside the Cairo airport.

Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty Images
Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty Images

The relatives of those onboard are being transferred to a hotel in Cairo, the aviation minister confirmed during a press conference. They will stay in this undisclosed location as more information emerges.

Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty Images

In Paris, the relative of someone onboard the aircraft reacts as she makes a phone call at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Michel Euler / AP
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U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump has tweeted about the EgyptAir plane, speculating that a crash could have been caused by a terrorist attack.

Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!

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Egypt’s aviation minister has urged against “speculation” over the "missing" plane.

Some relatives of missing #MS804 passengers now leaving the airport, have been told to wait for phone updates

Sherify Fathy, speaking at a press conference in Cairo, said his ministry would continue to refer to the plane as "missing" until debris had been found.

Describing today as a "difficult day," the minister expressed his sadness over events – but refused to be drawn into "eventualities or theories".

"We will be using the term the missing plane until we find the wreckage," Fathy said. "We are not talking about eventualities or theories here."

He continued there were "rumors circulating left, right and center," and urged people to "stop speculation".

"The plane's wreckage must be found before exploring hypotheses about what happened," he said.

"It doesn't mean that we can deny that it could have been a terrorist act or a technical act," he added. However, responding to questions afterwards, he denied rumors the Airbus had suffered from technical difficulties prior to the incident.

Egypt will host all passengers from all nationalities in Cairo, Fathy said.

Khaled Desouki / AFP / Getty Images

He said free tickets will be offered to French relatives. "They will be our guests until the situation develops," Faithy said.

He added: "We are here to alleviate their pain."

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Greek defense minister says plane suddenly lost altitude before disappearing from radar.

The EgyptAir flight made two turns and dropped more than 20,000 feet before disappearing from radar, Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said, according to the AP.

The plane was just 10–15 miles into Egypt's air space when "it turned 90 degrees left and then a 360- degree turn toward the right, dropping from 38,000 to 15,000 feet and then it was lost at about 10,000 feet," Kemmenos said.

The loss of communication with the pilot happened at about the time that Greek air traffic controllers were to hand over to Cairo air traffic. Prior to the losing the plane, Greek civil aviation authorities said there didn't appear to be anything wrong.

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French President François Hollande has confirmed that the plane "crashed."

French President on #EgyptAir: "Information confirms, alas, that this plane has crashed" https://t.co/GhpGsEfiLL https://t.co/8JJBRABSxR

Hollande, speaking at a press conference, said: "We have also the duty to know everything about the causes of what has happened, no hypothesis should be ruled out or preferred.

"I want that everything should be put at the disposition of the Greek and Egyptian authorities so that we can liaise with them.

"We have to send them ships and planes to make sure and to locate where the plane has crashed, and to do whatever we can to collect the debris that will allow us to know and find the truth."

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The flight lost communication with radar at 2.30 a.m (local time).

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EgyptAir Flight MS804 disappeared from radar off the north coast of Egypt early Thursday morning. This is what we know so far.

An Egyptair Airbus A320 stands on the runway at Larnaca Airport in Larnaca, Cyprus , March 29, 2016.
Yiannis Kourtoglou / Reuters

An Egyptair Airbus A320 stands on the runway at Larnaca Airport in Larnaca, Cyprus , March 29, 2016.


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